Homewood-Flossmoor District 233 has returned more than $8.5 million to taxpayers in property tax relief and expects to extend that number to $12 million.
The board approved a motion at its Nov. 16 meeting to apply for a 2022 Property Tax Relief Grant. The state funding is meant to help districts, especially those in the South Suburbs, to offset their high tax rates.
According to Robert Grossi, Bloom Township school treasurer, two-thirds of H-F’s revenue comes from property taxes. Grossi assured board members District 233 would receive the PTRG funding. H-F has moved down from No. 1 to No. 7 on the rankings list for PTRG funds, but it hasn’t moved down far enough to no longer qualify, he said.
By accepting the 2022 grant, the board will abate taxes in the amount of $1.75 million and an additional $1.88 million that is a mandated abatement for receiving the Property Tax Relief Grant.
Grossi reviewed the abatement and tax levy numbers for the District 233 finance committee the day before the full board met.
When the state switched its school funding formula from a flat dollar amount per student to an Evidence Based Funding formula, it recognized the system needed some adjustments for schools with high property taxes. It came up with $50 million in Property Tax Relief Grants awarding its first grants in 2018.
By accepting the PTRG money, H-F has been mandated to abate taxes. The H-F board went a step further and tacked on voluntary tax relief. Every district isn’t giving property tax relief, Grossi said, adding H-F’s action “lends itself to the spirit of the law, if you’re getting extra money that you give the money back in the form of property tax relief.”
“Over the last three years, the mandatory abatement has been $5,711,000. In addition, the school board made non-mandatory abatements of $2,786,000,” he explained. “If we aggregate all the additional money from the state since the program began and we subtracted mandatory and voluntary abatements, as of today (H-F is) $1,822,000 ahead.”
Grossi said the next District 233 tax levy, at just under $40 million, will actually be less than the $40.23 million levy in 2015.
He noted: “The district, because of taking advantage of the PTRG and the voluntary abatements, has kept taxes flat or lower of the last six years of tax levy.”
The district will give final approval to the 2022 levy and give approval to the abatement in the bond and interest fund at the December meeting.